Kentuckians in the Red Cross continue efforts in Maui, prepare for Idalia relief

Kentucky's Red Cross continues efforts in Maui
Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 9:59 PM CDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Several agencies are preparing to send supplies and crews to help with hurricane relief efforts in Florida, including the Kentucky Region of the American Red Cross. But 16 Kentuckians are still serving in Hawaii, three weeks after Maui fell victim to one of the deadliest wildfires in American history.

With months - or even years - of recovery ahead, Kentucky Region CEO Steve Cunanan says they each remain hard at work.

“Right now, we have two thousand homes that have either been totally destroyed, or have major damage and are unlivable,” said Cunanan.

He says the group of Kentuckians serving with the agency in Lahaina has more than doubled since we spoke to them on August 17th.

“They’ve been deployed to disasters multiple times.” Cunanan said. “One person has been deployed about 40 times to disasters.”

Despite that experience, he notes they’ve been shocked by what they’re experiencing.

“When you are in other situations, a tornado, a hurricane, you see things you recognize,” said Cunanan. “There is just nothing there anymore.”

Cunanan says these Red Cross workers are bringing supplies, planning temporary shelters, offering monetary support and more. Cunanan has been in his role for the past four years, so he’s seen disasters in this very state where the recovery has taken, and continues to take, years.

“Both the flooding in eastern Kentucky and the tornadoes in western Kentucky,” Cunanan said.

Through those years, Cunanan says they intend to be there alongside the victims.

“We still have a team right now that’s working in long-term recovery [in western Kentucky],” said Cunanan. “So they are working with organizations to provide housing, weather radios, storm eastern Kentucky too. So, the same kind of a situation, I think, will play out in Hawaii.”